Christine O’Donnell recently bought some air time on local Delaware public-access TV for her campaign’s closing argument: thirty minutes of what she calls an “inspiring TV show” about all “the heartwarming people I’ve met on the campaign trail.” The ad was supposed to run on Sunday night and Monday morning, but it never did. Apparently unable to call up the station and ask what was going on, O’Donnell alleged that it was deliberately trying to destroy her candidacy. “Dirty politics again?” she tweeted. “I’d like to think the County run station really did just ‘forget’ even though we reminded them this morning.” This triggered Sarah Palin’s state-of-the-art media-bias siren in Wasilla, and she rushed to Twitter to condemn the station as well, even though she had no idea what was going on. “Still getting info on this … not surprising, but outrageous,” she wrote. So why did a local public-access channel try to “silence Christine’s message to the voters of Delaware,” as an O’Donnell spokesman suggested?
No one forgot anything at Channel 28, station operator Tim Qualls told me today. He said the O’Donnell campaign worked out a deal to broadcast the 30-minute spot five times before election day (at a cost of $2,500) but didn’t get a Channel 28 staffer the tape of the video “until 11 PM on Saturday night.” That wasn’t enough time for Qualls and his small staff to encode the video properly for broadcast by 11:30 Sunday or, apparently, 10 AM today.
Qualls laughed off claims that there was bias behind the move, blaming it all on the time it takes for him to get a video on the public access station. He said the video will run multiple times today and tomorrow before the polls close …
One of the reasons it was tough for the station to get the ad up by 11:30 last night, for example, was that Qualls said he had to be in Baltimore while his wife got medical treatment all weekend and wasn’t able to start encoding the video until this morning.
When you pay public-access prices, you get public-access service. Maybe if she didn’t use campaign donations to pay her rent, O’Donnell would have more money in her TV budget.